Open post A collection of matches lined up in rows, with one of them burnt out. Text: How to Avoid Mid-Career Burnout

How to Avoid Mid-Career Burnout

How to Avoid Mid-career Burnout_cover

Career burnout is a genuine phenomenon, with nearly two-thirds of full-time workers having experienced it at one time or another. Rates of burnout are particularly high when people are in the middle of their career. Professionals who were once energized by their jobs can start to feel drained and diminished by them. You deserve to have a career that inspires you, challenges you, and is meaningful, and aligns with your values, but doesn’t take more from you than it gives back.

So, what measures can you take to avoid mid-career burnout?

Look for jobs that will serve you well

Choosing a position that will allow you to achieve your desired lifestyle is an incredibly important proactive action that will help you avoid mid-career burnout. Check-in with yourself:

  • What is essential for you in a job or career long-term?
  • What kinds of stressors you can handle and not handle?
  • What volume of work are you willing to take on?

Look for work that excites you and that you find meaningful. Also, consider how much autonomy a position will offer you. When researching, look for employers that are taking actions to increase employee satisfaction.

 

Recognize when you’re at your breaking point

It’s normal to feel tired or overwhelmed from time-to-time, but if these states are dominating your life, it may mean that you’re reaching your limit. Burnout looks slightly different for everyone. Burnt-out individuals may become apathetic about the outcomes of their work and have trouble focusing. They may feel constantly stressed, fatigued, or uncharacteristically bothered by small annoyances. They might notice that their performance is slipping. If you notice some of these signs in yourself, it might be time to take action.

 

How to Avoid Mid-career Burnout

Be mindful of how you spend your free time

The activities you do outside of work have the power to either exacerbate or to assuage burnout. Some unhealthy habits may actually be contributing to your burnout more than you realize. For example, you might think that mindlessly scrolling through social media is helping you decompress, when it’s actually eating up more time than you’re aware of and worsening your anxiety. Spending time exercising, learning a new hobby, or with friends and family can be very rewarding and beneficial for your mental state. That being said, it’s your time, and you can spend it however the heck you want to! Do what brings you the most delight and fulfillment. Regardless of which activities you prefer it’s critical that you’re active, rather than passive, in deciding what to do with your time.

Set boundaries

While it’s admirable to be responsible and to go above and beyond at your job, it’s important to notice when you may be taking on more than you can handle.  Being available for work 24/7 is very taxing, and if you take on too much it’s only a matter of time before your performance-and your mental health-start to suffer. If you were the last person to take the lead on the last three projects, and you’re feeling exhausted, maybe it’s time to let someone else take charge this time. You may wish to have a conversation with your employer or your co-workers clarifying when they can expect you to be online, and when you are on your own time.

Ask for support

Mid-career burnout can be extremely frustrating and upsetting but know that you are not stuck and you don’t have to go through it alone. Talk to a therapist, or ask for advice from friends who may have had similar experiences. It may also be helpful to express your feelings to your boss, and explore ways that you can be challenged or supported in your position. After all, employee dissatisfaction is not only harmful to the employee, but to the company as well. It is in everyone’s best interest that they hear out your concerns and help you make the changes that you need to.

Add joy to your workday

Whether it’s listening to your favorite playlist while you work, treating yourself to a delicious lunch, or focusing on the parts of your job that you find the most enjoyable, a little joy can go a long way in combatting burnout.

Consider a job change

If you’ve done everything you can and you still feel deeply unsatisfied with your current position, consider your options, and what it might look like to change jobs, or even to shift your career direction. If you decide that changing paths is what’s best, get specific about what you like and dislike about your current job. Use your findings to propel your job search and find a position that better aligns with your goals, strengths, and values.

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Open post Image for Upskilling and Reskilling Article, image of library

Upskilling and Reskilling: The Secret to Staying Ahead of the Competition in Hiring and Brand Reputation

Image for Upskilling and Reskilling Article, image of library

More than half – 56 percent – of organizations believe they have a moderate to severe skills gap today, and 60 percent of employees believe that, to some extent, their current skill set will become outdated in the next three to five years. A commitment to Upskilling and Reskilling employees is quickly becoming the best path to overcoming skills gaps.

What is Upskilling and Reskilling?

Upskilling is learning new skills to optimize performance. Organizations upskill their employees to help them gain new skills and experience to stay relevant or move into a higher position. Whereas reskilling helps employees learn new skills to take up a new role within the same organization. Reskilling is more focused on training employees for a new position.

Benefits of Upskilling or Reskilling

Stay Competitive and Improve Employee Retention

Employees want learning and development opportunities to help them stay relevant in their role as well as position them for advancement. Providing a pathway for skills development motivates employees. Making them feel valued and supported, increasing their likelihood to stay with your organization long term. Upskilling and reskilling team members also helps keep companies competitive and shows that they are motivated to invest in the professional development of their employees.

Improve Morale and Productivity

Training and development opportunities help employees move forward on their career path and helps them envision their future with the organization, improving morale. Across teams, efficiency and productivity is improved, paving the way for increased satisfaction and strengthening your company’s competitive edge.

Attracts Great Talent

As word of your commitment to upskilling and reskilling spreads, your reputation in the eyes of your employees and the wider talent market improves. 91% of the millennials indicated that they preferred career development to any other benefit when choosing to join a company. By offering the right mix of upskill and reskill opportunities, employees who are motivated to keep learning and growing are motivated to stay and great talent with a similar mindset is encouraged to join.

Reduces Hiring Costs

Hiring is costly, from one-half to two times the employee’s annual salary. A measurable advantage of upskilling and reskilling is that it reduces hiring efforts to search for a specialist in a field. It is a much smaller investment compared to the cost of the recruitment process for hiring a new employee.

Upskilling and reskilling can help your company secure the right people with the right skills that you need to compete today while providing flexibility to arm team members with the necessary skills needed in the future. This attention reduces the need to look outside for talent with specific skillsets, saving time and hiring costs and allows for continuity among team members when it comes to proprietary company knowledge that would have otherwise walked right out the door.

How to Upskill and Reskill Employees?

Online Courses/Webinars

Remote learning is the most popular way to upskill and reskill during the current times when most employees are working from home. Online courses can be free or paid, and most of them provide a certificate at the end of the course. Investing in online classes allows you to upskill employees regardless of their location and time zone.

Classroom Training

Organizations can also upskill employees in a traditional classroom setting. They can hire trainers or institutes to share ideas and teach new skills and software to their employees. However, with the project deadlines, work commitments, and remote working, it becomes less feasible to attend scheduled training on the allocated day, time, and location.

Mentors

Mentorship programs within the organization are another great way to upskill employees. Subject matter experts (SMEs) from different areas can pair with employees to share new skills. This helps companies to leverage their existing talent to meet future requirements. Mentorship programs come in various forms and can be customized based on the upskilling or reskilling needs.

Pioneer companies are aware of the changing technological demands of the workplace. Last year, Amazon announced it would be dedicating $700 million to provide 100,000 employees access to upskilling training programs. In comparison, salesforce pledged to train 500,000 Americans with the skills they need to earn Salesforce credentials. Analyzing what skills are missing across the organization and upskilling or reskilling employees based on those skills will help create a growth-focused culture and continuous learning.

 

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Open post New Year New Career

What to Consider When Considering a New Career in the New Year

New Year New Career

New year, new resolutions, should a career change be one?

New Year’s is that time when we reflect on who we have been, who we want to be, and what we can do to move a little bit closer to our ideal self. It’s time for self-realization and assessment of where we are professionally and personally.

For most heading into the New Year, there is generally more of an open-mindedness towards keeping career options open, or at least networking to gain an understanding of the current job market and one’s value within it. What fewer people seem to do is to deeply consider what it is that they both like and dislike about their current role. This is important because without a solid and fundamental understanding of where we are in relation to where we want to be, and without getting in contact with those basic human elements that are responsible for our motivations, we are bound to repeat our same patterns, even if they are not optimal.

In this New Year, ask yourself why you have stayed where you are for so long, what would you change about your current situation, and why it is that you are considering change other than the arbitrary start of a new calendar year? Hopefully, you will arrive at the conclusion that you have stayed in your current role for good reason. While there is a time to consider a career change, don’t do so expecting an impossible perfection from a future role when your current one is great. On the other hand, don’t fall into the trap of convincing yourself that your mediocre role is great without seeking answers to hard questions.

For a start, consider some basics: do you have the title that you want, is there a path in your current company towards that title if you don’t have it, what is the timeline to get there? Are you even title sensitive? Is your company as flat or as structured as you would like it to be? Is your company culture one that is strong, one that you have an affinity for, and one that is inclusive?

Is your company hiring people that are easy to work with? Do you have the freedom and autonomy that you would prefer to have? Are you comfortable that the impact you are making is substantial enough? Are you providing products or services that bring you immense pride? Are the products cutting edge enough for you? Is there a stability that you are experiencing that is difficult to sacrifice even if the perfect opportunity presented itself? There is a whole myriad of concrete and common reasons behind strong positive or negative feelings towards your current role, or even the ennui that paralyzes you into quasi-satisfaction.

If your recruiting consultant is a good recruiting consultant, they should be able to direct you. They should not hesitate to listen and tell you when you actually are in a good situation, and they should be aggressive enough to help you find a step closer to towards an ideal change should your current situation not be satisfactory. If you aren’t asked basic motivational questions, you risk a fate of being in a role where you are unaware of whether or not it is the best fit for you at best, and you risk moving to a situation that is ultimately less satisfactory at worst.

Which Technical Skills Should I Acquire?

by Torrie Arnold

Among the most common and worst questions that recruiters are consistently asked, “What technical skill(s) should I acquire to increase my marketability?” It’s a question commonly asked and a clear answer from a recruiter unwittingly places the candidate at risk. Changing labor market demands, a misunderstanding of one of the most common elements of success, and the massive amount of time it takes to properly develop a skill should have already placed this question in obsolescence.

Typically I answer this question in pointing out what we all know to be obvious. With the general labor market changing rapidly, the tech sector is perhaps the most dynamic and rapidly changing of all. Skills that were in demand 6 months ago from any specific point in time within the last three years have almost all faded towards saturation at best, obscurity at worst. Successful developers, architects, security engineers etc. have all risen to and maintained their edge in either developing new skills of honing expertise in one area. Constantly developing new technical skills to keep up with the market allows one to remain marketable, but can sometimes feel taxing like a treadmill that won’t stop. Contrarily, developing a true expertise may allow one to carve out a particular niche within a larger industry, but limits the scope of future opportunities.  Remaining a successful engineer will require either diversification or specialization, and won’t be easy either way. It’s best to start where your interests are than where the market is temporarily placing its spotlight.

With the above in mind, it doesn’t make much sense to choose a direction purely based on current market demand. However, we are also aware that failing to plan means planning to fail, and we know where we will ultimately end up in choosing to develop a skill that has no market demand. What next? As naïve as it sounds; following your passion is the best way to start. Identifying those areas with relative demand is rather simple, just check a few pages of local job listings and assess what skills the labor market is in need of, and take a personal inventory of what interests you most, if you haven’t already. Few common threads run amongst the most successful people in the world, but passion for what they do is one that is undeniable. Not only will you have more fun in acquiring such skills that you love, but you will also be more driven to meet the changing landscape of what will be needed now and later to achieve your personal passions and goals. Where do you start? Wherever you most want to, the where you start shouldn’t be determined without first recognizing your passion as the why.

The massive amount of time it takes to learn a new element of security, learn a new programming language proficiently enough to list on your resume, attain a Microsoft or Cisco certification, etc. is not going to be the best use of your time unless the pursuit of these skills is at least partly for reasons of self-edification and sincere interest. Rather than pursue the in-demand skill of today that you are half-heartedly interested in and won’t be in demand by the time you acquire it, it may be best to spend your time networking, learning who the organizations in your particular field are and what they do, request and attend informational interviews, learn how to market yourself in the resume and in the interview, and make sure you have a recruiting consultant that listens and partners with you in helping you to reach your goals.

Your career will most likely be a long road, denying your personal interests and refusing to be ruthless with your time will make this road all the more arduous and all the less enjoyable.

#keeplearning

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